Telephone Answering Service | UK Phone Call Professionals https://www.connect-communications.co.uk UK based call answering services Fri, 07 Dec 2018 06:25:54 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0 Ever wondered who was behind those irritating cold calls? https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/blog/ever-wondered-who-was-behind-those-irritating-cold-calls/ https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/blog/ever-wondered-who-was-behind-those-irritating-cold-calls/#comments Fri, 30 Mar 2018 08:08:53 +0000 https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/?p=2442
Receiving an irritating call

If you have ever been continually pestered by cold calls there is a good chance that some of them may have ended recently. That’s because a firm in Clydebank was recently raided by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) after a suspected 200 million illegal calls were made by them.

The ICO served a search warrant on the Clydebank firm after complaints and a tip-off led them to their office where they had software and equipment for making the automated calls predominantly about government sponsored boiler and window replacement schemes, sound familiar?

Beyond a simple nuisance

Because of the high level of automated calls the firm was making (yes, you read that correctly earlier- 200 million!), this went beyond the level of a simple nuisance and was genuinely a risk to life as they managed to knock out one of Network Rail’s control centres. In much the same way that a website can be attacked via a DOS (denial of service) this is effectively what happened to the Banavie Control Centre, near Fort William, by the sheer number of automated phone calls being made meaning that drivers and members of the public were unable to access information as to whether unmanned level crossings were safe to cross or not.

As the ICO is continuing to carry out its investigation, which will involve analysing the computer equipment and documents seized, they will not name the firm at this time. However, if found guilty of breaching the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 they can expect heavy fines of up to £500,000.

How Connect looks to combat nuisance callers for our clients:

  1. Our technology

    At Connect, because of the sheer scale of calls that we answer, we come across outbound call centres and automated diallers on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Believe it or not, we actually have a number of clients who use our service purely to filter out the sales calls. Our systems allow us to block out repeat offenders meaning that after a nuisance number, or range of numbers, has been identified they are no longer able to his out operator’s switchboard.

  2. Our operators

    Our operators are trained to spot sales calls from the obvious automated calls to the “can I speak with the business owner” calls. We ask pertinent questions if suspicions are raised and if in doubt we will sent a message through stating that we were unsure if this was a sales call or not, if it was then clients can easily contact us to remove the message from their account- always better safe than sorry when dealing with potential new business.

  3. Our clients

    We also rely on our clients telling us if and when an unsolicited sales call has sneaked through our systems and procedures. Unfortunately as we make it harder for sales calls to get through to our clients, then sales callers become ever more desperate and resourceful. One of their favourite ways is to call up and ask for general information on our clients product or service and then ask who the best person to speak to would be and hang up, then after a few minutes or hours call back again and confidently name that person as someone they were speaking to earlier and try to get transferred through. It’s in situations like this we very much appreciate our client contacting us to advise that a sales call got through as we are then able to block them; we also remove the message from our client’s record as we do not charge for sales calls.

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How to spot and stop phone scams https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/blog/how-to-spot-and-stop-phone-scams/ https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/blog/how-to-spot-and-stop-phone-scams/#respond Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:54:34 +0000 https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/?p=1900
Incoming scam phonecall

We frequently read about the dangers or perceived dangers of smartphones these days, whether it be from arthritis in our thumbs to walking into a tree as we browse through our Facebook feed but despite this the number one danger still remains actually receiving phone calls from would be scammers.

It’s a shame that some unscrupulous people choose to use this route but when you think about the potential gains from just one phone call paying off then it’s no wonder conmen and scammers still rely on catching out innocent members of the public.

Understanding the concept of a phone scam

The simple way to explain a phone scam is to say that you are talking to a dishonest caller. They are people who state a situation that is actually not true. Common examples are people posing as employees of reputed companies when they are not; asking for personal information. In some cases, they may manipulate the call receiver for money.

Phone scams can be varying. They may come in the form of fake charities, phishing scams or debt collectors. The main objective, more often than not, is to obtain your personal information to get access to and steal your hard earned money.

As is obvious, being a victim of a phone scam can be very stressful and tragic in many cases. Therefore, it is important to identify the signs in order to know when you are at risk of being scammed.

Signs of a phone scam:

  • Receiving calls from so-called brands without expecting
  • Number you don’t recognize
  • Stating an offer too good to be true
  • A pre-recorded call
  • Caller inducing a sense of urgency
  • Caller directing to certain websites or providing apparent legitimate business

How to avoid phone scams:

  • If you ever think a call is suspicious from the get-go, don’t respond and hang up
  • Download an application on your smartphone that can block suspicious numbers and prevent future stress
  • Don’t reveal any personal information unless you are absolutely sure that you are talking to an authorized person
  • If a certain scam trend is going around, be aware and informed
  • Don’t fall for unauthorized calls that are apparently from your subscriptions. Make a list of codes that belong to your subscriptions
  • In case of repeated suspicious calls, file a complaint with a relevant authority
  • Try limiting the number of people you choose to reveal your number to

Looking out for the elderly and vulnerable

Elderly lady answering a phonecallRealistically, phone scammers are not really looking to speak with people who are able to understand the risks of the modern world. They are looking for people who are maybe a little more trusting and less likely to ask pertinent questions. Unfortunately some older people do tend to fall into this bracket and are therefore far more likely to accidently give a scammer useful data that can be used against them.

If you are suspicious that an elderly relative has been a victim then a really great website to visit is Think Jessica which is a registered charity that helps identify scams targetting elderly and vulnerable people in the UK. If you still have cause for concern, help them contact to their bank and/or police.

Identifying and blocking known suspicious numbers

At Connect we answer thousands of calls a week for our clients and we have built systems to help operators alert us when a suspicious call is received. We then investigate calls from that particular number, or range of numbers, and we can block future calls if necessary.

You can also block calls via your smartphone as most modern ones allow you to add to a “blocked” list of sorts or you can download an app such as Truecaller which has created a directory of known nuisance callers for you to check and hopefully block.

TOP TIP – call them back

Never, ever give personal or security information to anyone that calls claiming to be from a bank or other financial service, instead offer to call them back. By all means let them give you a number to call them back on but don’t actually use it for anything other than to check them up. Call back the company on their official number or one that you know to be correct from a statement.

If possible, try to call back from a different phone than the one they called you on. Why? Well a very recent and sophisticated scam actually requested that the victim do indeed call their bank but the scammer never really hung up, instead they played a dial tone down the line. The victim dialled their bank but was never connected to where they thought they were calling (as they did not have a new phone line) and ended up giving all the information to the scammer who answered as if it were the bank.

If you can’t call from another line then wait a good five or ten minutes whilst you check out the caller’s story on the internet.

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The hidden cost of a telephone number https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/blog/the-hidden-cost-of-a-telephone-number/ Tue, 01 Aug 2017 12:23:51 +0000 https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/?p=1730
Phone bill

A lot has changed in the telecoms industry recently and will no doubt continue to change so please be aware that the figures and costs quoted below are correct as of July 2017*, they may not still be accurate if you are reading this whilst whizzing about on your hover board in 2037.

Which telephone numbers will cost a lot and which ones won’t cost you a penny?

With so many types of telephone prefixes floating about these days it can be hard to keep track of which ones are “premium rate”, which ones are free and which ones cost the same as calling your Auntie Anne at the bottom of the street.

I’ve decided in this guide to break it down into number types rather than individual prefixes although in many sections I have given plenty of prefix examples both in the title and in the description. If there is a specific prefix you are looking for then please press “Ctrl +F” on your keyboard to search the page, there is a huge list of UK area codes at the very bottom of the page and also some quick links to the right of here.

I’ve also added a little £££ sign to highlight the real stingers out there.

Geographic 01 and 02 numbers

£ £ £ £ £
I’m starting with these as they are still the most recognisable in the UK, basically if the number you are dialling starts with 01 or 02 then it is classed as a geographic number and you will only ever be charged as such by your telecoms provider, there’s no sneaky way of getting additional charges pushed back onto the caller with these type of calls.

Most providers (landline and mobile) offer packages that have inclusive geographic numbers but if you’re not on such a package then expect to pay up to 13p per minute from a landline and between 3p and 55p from a mobile. It is worth noting that inclusive allowances usually omit calls to landline numbers in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man. You might also be charged a call set-up fee so check the terms and conditions with your telecoms provider if in doubt.

Click here to view a full list of area codes for 01 and 02 numbers

Non-geographic UK-wide 03 numbers

£ £ £ £ £
These numbers are aimed mainly at UK businesses and organisations that wish to have one number that anyone from Aberdeen to Aberystwyth to Ashford can call and be charged no more than a call to a 01 or 02 geographic number. So the Connect telephone number 0330 3333 777 will cost you the same to dial as call to Edinburgh (0131), Manchester (0161), London (020) or any other 01 or 02 number.

As with geographic 01 and 02 numbers, the 03 prefix is frequently included in packages and bundles with x-amount of monthly inclusive minutes.

Numbers starting 03 are all charged at the same rate but are broken into four usage categories:

  • 030 – reserved for public services, charities and healthcare organisations (see next section)
  • 033 – can be used by any organisation
  • 034 – reserved for migration from the exactly matching 084 number
  • 037 – reserved for migration from the exactly matching 087 number.

Not-for-profit 030 numbers

£ £ £ £ £
As with the above 03 numbers, these are for UK not-for-profit charities and public bodies that wish to have one number nationally. Again, costs should be the same to dial as a 01 or 02 number and they are usually included in packages and bundles with x-amount of inclusive monthly minutes.

Freephone 0800 and 0808 numbers

£ £ £ £ £
Does pretty much what it says on the tin, 0800 and 0808 numbers are free for the caller as the business or organisation you are calling picks up the tab. 0500 numbers also used to be free to call but this range was withdrawn in June 2017.

Mobile numbers 071 to 075 and 077 to 079

£ £ £ £ £
The reason I have not simply put “07” in the description above is that I want to draw your eye to the fact I am not talking about “070” numbers (see the next section titled “Personal numbers”).

Calls to 071 to 075 and 077 to 079 (mobile numbers) vary hugely depending on whether you are calling from a landline or mobile and who your provider is. Again, certainly with mobile packages, you will find that many providers offer inclusive minutes but in general calls can cost anywhere from 10p to 20p from a landline and from 3p all the way up to 55p from a mobile. Most landline providers now offer inclusive calls to UK mobile numbers, at the time of writing, BT is the only large provider to not offer this. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, if in doubt ask your provider.

What about 076 numbers?

076 prefix numbers are not mobile numbers, 076 is used for pagers (does anyone aside from doctors still use pagers?) with one oddity being 07624 which is one of the Isle of Man mobile number ranges. Whilst we are on that geographic subject, please note that where inclusive allowances cover mobile numbers they usually omit mobile numbers in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

Personal numbers beginning 070

£ £ £ £ £
OK, this is when we start to see some sneaky charging going on. At first glance a telephone number that starts 070 probably looks like a normal mobile number but wait…..

It’s a premium rate number, if you call a 070 number from a landline it can cost you up to £3.40 per minute! From a mobile the cost can be up to £2.50 per minute. So be warned, 070 numbers are not mobile numbers and personally I’m amazed that OFCOM allow them to exist.

084 and 087 numbers

£ £ £ £ £
I’m sure someone at OFCOM will disagree with me vehemently here but I’m grouping 084 and 087 numbers together as basically you could spend half a day working out how much you will be charged to use them. Calls to 0843, 0844, 0845 and 087 numbers are made up of 2 legs/charges:

  1. leg/charge: is called an access charge which is set by your telecoms provider and can be 2p to 13p per minute from landlines or 3p to 55p per minute from mobiles.
  2. leg/charge: is the service charge which is set by the business or organisation you are calling. This part can be up to 7p per call or per minute for 084 numbers or up to 13p per call or per minute for 087 numbers.

Back to the first part of the leg, the access charge, I can’t tell you how much this will be as it’s set by each individual provider differently. So BT, 02, SKY, TalkTalk, Virgin Media etc set this part of the leg, as a guide BT currently charge 12p per minute for their access charge so add that to whatever the business you are calling is charging and you might get your final figure- good luck.

087 numbers with a Service Charge of more than 7p per call or per minute are defined as Controlled Premium Rate Services (CPRS) and subject to additional regulation by the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA).

I see frequent examples of this still happening but usage of 084 and 087 numbers is now banned for post-sales helplines for retailers, traders and passenger transport companies. They are also not allowed for financial services or public services.

All remaining users of 084 and 087 numbers (and 09 and 118 numbers for that matter) are required to state the call charges immediately alongside the number, wherever the number is advertised or promoted.

My preferred option when calling an 084 or 087 number is not to, I go to the website www.saynoto0870.com which has a huge database of alternate numbers some of which are even freephone to get through to the same place.

Premium rate 09 numbers

£ £ £ £ £
Similar to the way that 084 and 087 numbers are broken down into two parts, 09 numbers charging also consist of the access charge and service charge, however, we are now into the land of some serious money-making by the owner(s) of the number you are calling and the charges are far, far higher than that of 084 numbers.

As the cost of calling these numbers is again broken up into 2 parts it’s very hard to tell you what you will be paying but basically, without putting to fine a point on it, lots. The access charge is from your phone company so you could be talking anything from 2p to 13p per minute from landlines or 3p to 55p per minute from mobiles, the real cost is from the service charge though. This can range from anywhere from 1p (I don’t believe anyone has ever charged this low but clearly I’m very cynical!) to £3.60 per minute and you could also be charged a set-up fee of up to £6.00 for each call.

Unlike 084 and 087 numbers, 09 premium rate numbers are regulated by the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA).

Services of social value 116 numbers

£ £ £ £ £
I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of this prefix before I started researching for this post but the long and short of it is that they are free from anywhere in the European Union.

Click here to read more about them but they are very much social welfare lines such as 116000 which is for missing children and this number can be called for free regardless of where you are in the EU. Other 116 numbers in service in UK are:

  • 116111 – Childline (runs in parallel with their 0800 1111 number)
  • 116123 – Samaritans

While 116 numbers are available throughout the EU, calling one of these numbers connects to the service that runs in the country you are calling from.

Directory enquiry numbers 118

£ £ £ £ £
Here we come to the real big money and also the reason how I came about writing this post.

A couple of days ago I was walking back from the school-run with my friend when he pulled out this fun fact about the cost of calling a 118118 number:

How much do you think a 3 minute call to 118118 where you are transferred through to the business costs?” he asked,

£9.99” I said, deliberately pitching it high,

not even close, £18.32” he said quite smugly.

I didn’t believe him, no way could a 3 minute call to directory enquiries cost that much so I did some research and yes, yes he was right – £18.32!

I could go deep into how these numbers are charged but Ben Salisbury wrote an excellent piece for MoneySavingExpert.com which you can read by clicking here. 118 numbers usually have a connection charge which can be up to around £7 and then a charge per minute of around £3.60 but these are not the maximum charges. 118 numbers are regulated by the Phone-paid Services Authority and so long as the charges are clearly advertised then anything goes.

All 01 and 02 area code prefixes

Click here to view a full list of area codes for 01 and 02 numbers
Prefix Area covered
0113 Leeds
0114 Sheffield
0115 Nottingham
0116 Leicester
0117 Bristol
0118 Reading
01200 Clitheroe
01202 Bournemouth
01204 Bolton
01205 Boston
01206 Colchester
01207 Consett
01208 Bodmin
01209 Redruth
0121 Birmingham
01223 Cambridge
01224 Aberdeen
01225 Bath
01226 Barnsley
01227 Canterbury
01228 Carlisle
01229 Barrow-in Furness / Millom
01233 Ashford (Kent)
01234 Bedford
01235 Abingdon
01236 Coatbridge
01237 Bideford
01239 Cardigan
01241 Arbroath
01242 Cheltenham
01243 Chichester
01244 Chester
01245 Chelmsford
01246 Chesterfield
01248 Bangor (Gwynedd)
01249 Chippenham
01250 Blairgowrie
01252 Aldershot
01253 Blackpool
01254 Blackburn
01255 Clacton-on-Sea
01256 Basingstoke
01257 Coppull
01258 Blandford
01259 Alloa
01260 Congleton
01261 Banff
01262 Bridlington
01263 Cromer
01264 Andover
01267 Carmarthen
01268 Basildon
01269 Ammanford
01270 Crewe
01271 Barnstaple
01273 Brighton
01274 Bradford
01275 Clevedon
01276 Camberley
01277 Brentwood
01278 Bridgwater
01279 Bishops Stortford
01280 Buckingham
01282 Burnley
01283 Burton-on-Trent
01284 Bury-St-Edmunds
01285 Cirencester
01286 Caernarfon
01287 Guisborough
01288 Bude
01289 Berwick-on-Tweed
01290 Cumnock
01291 Chepstow
01292 Ayr
01293 Crawley
01294 Ardrossan
01295 Banbury
01296 Aylesbury
01297 Axminster
01298 Buxton
01299 Bewdley
01300 Cerne Abbas
01301 Arrochar
01302 Doncaster
01303 Folkestone
01304 Dover
01305 Dorchester
01306 Dorking
01307 Forfar
01308 Bridport
01309 Forres
0131 Edinburgh
01320 Fort Augustus
01322 Dartford
01323 Eastbourne
01324 Falkirk
01325 Darlington
01326 Falmouth
01327 Daventry
01328 Fakenham
01329 Fareham
01330 Banchory
01332 Derby
01333 Peat Inn
01334 St Andrews
01335 Ashbourne
01337 Ladybank
01339 Aboyne / Ballater
01340 Craigellachie
01341 Barmouth
01342 East Grinstead
01343 Elgin
01344 Bracknell
01346 Fraserburgh
01347 Easingwold
01348 Fishguard
01349 Dingwall
01350 Dunkeld
01352 Mold
01353 Ely
01354 Chatteris
01355 East Kilbride
01356 Brechin
01357 Strathaven
01358 Ellon
01359 Pakenham
01360 Killearn
01361 Duns
01362 Dereham
01363 Crediton
01364 Ashburton
01366 Downham Market
01367 Faringdon
01368 Dunbar
01369 Dunoon
01371 Great Dunmow
01372 Esher
01373 Frome
01375 Grays Thurrock
01376 Braintree
01377 Driffield
01379 Diss
01380 Devizes
01381 Fortrose
01382 Dundee
01383 Dunfermline
01384 Dudley
01386 Evesham
01387 Dumfries
013873 Langholm
01388 Bishop Auckland / Stanhope
01389 Dumbarton
01392 Exeter
01394 Felixstowe
01395 Budleigh Salterton
01397 Fort William
01398 Dulverton
01400 Honington
01403 Horsham
01404 Honiton
01405 Goole
01406 Holbeach
01407 Holyhead
01408 Golspie
01409 Holsworthy
0141 Glasgow
01420 Alton
01422 Halifax
01423 Boroughbridge / Harrogate
01424 Hastings
01425 Ringwood
01427 Gainsborough
01428 Haslemere
01429 Hartlepool
01430 Market Weighton / North Cave
01431 Helmsdale
01432 Hereford
01433 Hathersage
01434 Bellingham / Haltwhistle / Hexham
01435 Heathfield
01436 Helensburgh
01437 Clynderwen / Haverfordwest
01438 Stevenage
01439 Helmsley
01440 Haverhill
01442 Hemel Hempstead
01443 Pontypridd
01444 Haywards Heath
01445 Gairloch
01446 Barry
01449 Stowmarket
01450 Hawick
01451 Stow-on-the-Wold
01452 Gloucester
01453 Dursley
01454 Chipping Sodbury
01455 Hinckley
01456 Glenurquhart
01457 Glossop
01458 Glastonbury
01460 Chard
01461 Gretna
01462 Hitchin
01463 Inverness
01464 Insch
01465 Girvan
01466 Huntly
01467 Inverurie
01469 Killingholme
01470 Isle of Skye – Edinbane
01471 Isle of Skye – Broadford
01472 Grimsby
01473 Ipswich
01474 Gravesend
01475 Greenock
01476 Grantham
01477 Holmes Chapel
01478 Isle of Skye – Portree
01479 Grantown-on-Spey
01480 Huntingdon
01481 Guernsey
01482 Hull
01483 Guildford
01484 Huddersfield
01485 Hunstanton
01487 Warboys
01488 Hungerford
01489 Bishops Waltham
01490 Corwen
01491 Henley-on-Thames
01492 Colwyn Bay
01493 Great Yarmouth
01494 High Wycombe
01495 Pontypool
01496 Port Ellen
01497 Hay-on-Wye
01499 Inveraray
01501 Harthill
01502 Lowestoft
01503 Looe
01505 Johnstone
01506 Bathgate
01507 Alford (Lincs) / Louth / Spilsby
01508 Brooke
01509 Loughborough
0151 Liverpool
01520 Lochcarron
01522 Lincoln
01524 Lancaster
015242 Hornby
01525 Leighton Buzzard
01526 Martin
01527 Redditch
01528 Laggan
01529 Sleaford
01530 Coalville
01531 Ledbury
01534 Jersey
01535 Keighley
01536 Kettering
01538 Ipstones
01539 Kendal
015394 Hawkshead
015395 Grange-Over-Sands
015396 Sedbergh
01540 Kingussie
01542 Keith
01543 Cannock
01544 Kington
01545 Llanarth
01546 Lochgilphead
01547 Knighton
01548 Kingsbridge
01549 Lairg
01550 Llandovery
01553 Kings Lynn
01554 Llanelli
01555 Lanark
01556 Castle Douglas
01557 Kirkcudbright
01558 Llandeilo
01559 Llandysul
01560 Moscow
01561 Laurencekirk
01562 Kidderminster
01563 Kilmarnock
01564 Lapworth
01565 Knutsford
01566 Launceston
01567 Killin
01568 Leominster
01569 Stonehaven
01570 Lampeter
01571 Lochinver
01572 Oakham
01573 Kelso
01575 Kirriemuir
01576 Lockerbie
01577 Kinross
01578 Lauder
01579 Liskeard
01580 Cranbrook
01581 New Luce
01582 Luton
01583 Carradale
01584 Ludlow
01586 Campbeltown
01588 Bishops Castle
01590 Lymington
01591 Llanwrtyd Wells
01592 Kirkcaldy
01593 Lybster
01594 Lydney
01595 Lerwick / Foula / Fair Isle
01597 Llandrindod Wells
01598 Lynton
01599 Kyle
01600 Monmouth
01603 Norwich
01604 Northampton
01606 Northwich
01608 Chipping Norton
01609 Northallerton
0161 Manchester
01620 North Berwick
01621 Maldon
01622 Maidstone
01623 Mansfield
01624 Isle of Man
01625 Macclesfield
01626 Newton Abbot
01628 Maidenhead
01629 Matlock
01630 Market Drayton
01631 Oban
01633 Newport
01634 Medway
01635 Newbury
01636 Newark
01637 Newquay
01638 Newmarket
01639 Neath
01641 Strathy
01642 Middlesbrough
01643 Minehead
01644 New Galloway
01646 Milford Haven
01647 Moretonhampstead
01650 Cemmaes Road
01651 Oldmeldrum
01652 Brigg
01653 Malton
01654 Machynlleth
01655 Maybole
01656 Bridgend
01659 Sanquhar
01661 Prudhoe
01663 New Mills
01664 Melton Mowbray
01665 Alnwick
01666 Malmesbury
01667 Nairn
01668 Bamburgh
01669 Rothbury
01670 Morpeth
01671 Newton Stewart
01672 Marlborough
01673 Market Rasen
01674 Montrose
01675 Coleshill
01676 Meriden
01677 Bedale
01678 Bala
01680 Isle of Mull – Craignure
01681 Isle of Mull – Fionnphort
01683 Moffat
01684 Malvern
01685 Merthyr Tydfil
01686 Llanidloes / Newtown
01687 Mallaig
01688 Isle of Mull – Tobermory
01689 Orpington
01690 Betws-y-Coed
01691 Oswestry
01692 North Walsham
01694 Church Stretton
01695 Skelmersdale
01697 Brampton
016973 Wigton
016974 Raughton Head
016977 Brampton
01698 Motherwell
01700 Rothesay
01702 Southend-on-Sea
01704 Southport
01706 Rochdale
01707 Welwyn Garden City
01708 Romford
01709 Rotherham
01720 Isles of Scilly
01721 Peebles
01722 Salisbury
01723 Scarborough
01724 Scunthorpe
01725 Rockbourne
01726 St Austell
01727 St Albans
01728 Saxmundham
01729 Settle
01730 Petersfield
01732 Sevenoaks
01733 Peterborough
01736 Penzance
01737 Redhill
01738 Perth
01740 Sedgefield
01743 Shrewsbury
01744 St Helens
01745 Rhyl
01746 Bridgnorth
01747 Shaftesbury
01748 Richmond
01749 Shepton Mallet
01750 Selkirk
01751 Pickering
01752 Plymouth
01753 Slough
01754 Skegness
01756 Skipton
01757 Selby
01758 Pwllheli
01759 Pocklington
01760 Swaffham
01761 Temple Cloud
01763 Royston
01764 Crieff
01765 Ripon
01766 Porthmadog
01767 Sandy
01768 Penrith
017683 Appleby
017684 Pooley Bridge
017687 Keswick
01769 South Molton
01770 Isle of Arran
01771 Maud
01772 Preston
01773 Ripley
01775 Spalding
01776 Stranraer
01777 Retford
01778 Bourne
01779 Peterhead
01780 Stamford
01782 Stoke-on-Trent
01784 Staines
01785 Stafford
01786 Stirling
01787 Sudbury
01788 Rugby
01789 Stratford-upon-Avon
01790 Spilsby
01792 Swansea
01793 Swindon
01794 Romsey
01795 Sittingbourne
01796 Pitlochry
01797 Rye
01798 Pulborough
01799 Saffron Walden
01803 Torquay
01805 Torrington
01806 Shetland
01807 Ballindalloch
01808 Tomatin
01809 Tomdoun
01821 Kinrossie
01822 Tavistock
01823 Taunton
01824 Ruthin
01825 Uckfield
01827 Tamworth
01828 Coupar Angus
01829 Tarporley
01830 Kirkwhelpington
01832 Clopton
01833 Barnard Castle
01834 Narberth
01835 St Boswells
01837 Okehampton
01838 Dalmally
01840 Camelford
01841 Newquay
01842 Thetford
01843 Thanet
01844 Thame
01845 Thirsk
01847 Thurso / Tongue
01848 Thornhill
01851 Great Bernera / Stornoway
01852 Kilmelford
01854 Ullapool
01855 Ballachulish
01856 Orkney
01857 Sanday
01858 Market Harborough
01859 Harris
01862 Tain
01863 Ardgay
01864 Abington
01865 Oxford
01866 Kilchrenan
01869 Bicester
01870 Isle of Benbecula
01871 Castlebay
01872 Truro
01873 Abergavenny
01874 Brecon
01875 Tranent
01876 Lochmaddy
01877 Callander
01878 Lochboisdale
01879 Scarinish
01880 Tarbert
01882 Kinloch Rannoch
01883 Caterham
01884 Tiverton
01885 Pencombe
01886 Bromyard
01887 Aberfeldy
01888 Turriff
01889 Rugeley
01890 Ayton / Coldstream
01892 Tunbridge Wells
01895 Uxbridge
01896 Galashiels
01899 Biggar
01900 Workington
01902 Wolverhampton
01903 Worthing
01904 York
01905 Worcester
01908 Milton Keynes
01909 Worksop
0191 Tyneside / Durham / Sunderland
01920 Ware
01922 Walsall
01923 Watford
01924 Wakefield
01925 Warrington
01926 Warwick
01928 Runcorn
01929 Wareham
01931 Shap
01932 Weybridge
01933 Wellingborough
01934 Weston-Super-Mare
01935 Yeovil
01937 Wetherby
01938 Welshpool
01939 Wem
01942 Wigan
01943 Guiseley
01944 West Heslerton
01945 Wisbech
01946 Whitehaven
019467 Gosforth
01947 Whitby
01948 Whitchurch
01949 Whatton
01950 Sandwick
01951 Colonsay
01952 Telford
01953 Wymondham
01954 Madingley
01955 Wick
01957 Mid Yell
01959 Westerham
01962 Winchester
01963 Wincanton
01964 Hornsea / Patrington
01967 Strontian
01968 Penicuik
01969 Leyburn
01970 Aberystwyth
01971 Scourie
01972 Glenborrodale
01974 Llanon
01975 Alford (Aberdeen) / Strathdon
01977 Pontefract
01978 Wrexham
01980 Amesbury
01981 Wormbridge
01982 Builth Wells
01983 Isle of Wight
01984 Watchet
01985 Warminster
01986 Bungay
01987 Ebbsfleet
01988 Wigtown
01989 Ross-on-Wye
01992 Lea Valley
01993 Witney
01994 St Clears
01995 Garstang
01997 Strathpeffer
020 London
023 Southampton / Portsmouth
024 Coventry
028 Northern Ireland
029 Cardiff

*Disclaimer Alert ! – The material and information contained on this post is for general information purposes only. You should not rely upon the above figures as a basis for making any business, legal or any other decisions. The author makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the information, products, services or related graphics contained for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such material is therefore strictly at your own risk.

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Fraudsters Trying to Make Money from Manchester Misery https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/blog/fraudsters-trying-make-money-manchester-misery/ Wed, 31 May 2017 13:41:07 +0000 https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/?p=1671 I’m sure everybody reading this will have seen and been affected in some way from the recent terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester which killed 22 innocent people, young and old. Through this tragedy, however, we also saw some of the best of humanity from the homeless that rushed to help to the taxi drivers that turned off their meters and drove distressed concert goers home. Unfortunately we can also see the worst.

Ariana Grande logo for Manchester charity concert

Ariana Grande will play a tribute concert in aid of the victims in Manchester on Sunday 4th June 2017

Connect receives a strange application

Just 3 days after the attack, with many victims still not even named, we (Connect) received an application for the 30 day free trial of our call answering service from an individual claiming to be a charity based in Turkey. There were a couple of things that set the alarm bells off immediately for our customer service agent; the client’s website did not state they were a registered charity anywhere, they were looking for us to provide an 03 national number ASAP, they were very slack on the level of detail they provided about what their company actually did. Now, we deal with new enquiries everyday and individually any of the above issues could be expected but before we even had a chance to investigate the prospective client was on the phone demanding an immediate start of his free trial and the provision of a 03 telephone number.

Applicant calls in and his true motives are revealed

Now that we had him on the phone, our customer service agent was able to delve a little deeper and asked for their registered charity number, it was at this point the true nature of this individual became clear. They weren’t actually a charity but “were as good as” as they were setting up a helpline (remember the 03 number they so desperately wanted set-up ASAP?) to provide/sell insurance and counselling to the victims of the Manchester bombing. He wanted our operators to take card details (as security) so that this individual in Turkey could then arrange counselling to distressed, victims of terrorism. As we were being asked for a 03 number and also to provide a payment line, the caller was informed that he would need to provide sufficient ID in the form of a passport. The caller couldn’t do this as he had recently lost his passport and was waiting for a new one, “do you really need ID, can’t you just get this set-up and we can sort out all that stuff later?”

So in summary:

  • Applied as a charity but turned out not to be one
  • Based in Turkey looking to help victims in Manchester, UK
  • Wanted our operators to collect debit and credit card details
  • Unable to provide us with any ID

Clearly we rejected the application but what really amazes me is that in times of real human tragedy and misery, some peoples first thought is “how can I make money from this? How can I make somebody’s suffering even worse?”

There are some truly vile people out there in this world but thankfully, as was seen in the response to the bombing, there are also some very good, honest and caring ones as well.

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Staying up late for the election? https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/blog/staying-up-late-for-the-election/ https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/blog/staying-up-late-for-the-election/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 15:39:52 +0000 https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/?p=1665 So Mrs May has called a snap election to take place on the 8th of June 2017, 3 years before many of us were expecting to drag ourselves down to the polling station yet again.

What does it mean to Connect?

I know my children will be heartbroken at having to miss another day of school as it’s used as a polling station but for Connect? In short it means the staff at Connect will be super busy on Friday 9th June as a large number of our clients will stay up late on election night and use our service whilst they catch up on sleep. It happened in the last general election of 2015 and we also tend to see unusual spikes in activity when large sporting events are on although England really did let us down last year in euro 2016!

If you are planning on staying up late and sending more business calls than normal through to Connect on the 9th June then please let us know if our receptionists should respond in a different manner, for instance if you would normally call clients back within the hour let us know if this will not be the case.

What does it mean to our clients?

Many of our clients are small and medium sized businesses so the really pressing issues to follow will be how each party will pursue Brexit negotiations (or not in the case of the Liberal Democrats) and potential raises in tax, in particular Labour’s pledge to raise corporation tax to 26% by 2020.

A foregone conclusion that the Conservatives will win?

General Election 2017 RunnersWell if I had written this little blog a couple of weeks ago then I would probably have said yes but in the last few days the Tories published their manifesto and let’s face it, they have experienced a rather large wobble with some polls registering a cut of 50% in their lead. Don’t upset the aging population Theresa! However, even taking this huge chunk out of the lead it still puts the Conservatives on 43% and Labour on 34%. What will be really interesting over the coming weeks is if this continues to tighten or if it really is just a little wobble and the Tories take off again.

North of the border the really interesting battle will be if the Conservatives can consolidate the gains they appeared to make in the local elections and gain a seat or two in Scotland or if the SNP will battle back those voters.

No matter the result, we’ll still be answering your calls

Whatever the result come the morning of the 9th June, our receptionists will be here, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to answer your calls, manage your diary and process orders.

Of course you don’t need to let us know when you are or aren’t planning on using the call answering service, but by giving our operators notice of any significant changes on how your business will be running for a period it allows our service to be as seamless and professional to your callers and clients as possible.

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The problems of starting a new business https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/blog/problems-starting-new-business/ Tue, 18 Apr 2017 13:10:11 +0000 https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/?p=1638 Starting a business is not really as big a deal as it is to maintain it. But for new businesses, trying to break even and soar above zero profit is something to think about. The difficulties common with new businesses are not unique problems but are normalities perhaps to be expected for any organization that’s fresh to the game. Here’s our list of the top 6 difficulties a new business may encounter:

Funding:

Cash management issues come in various forms and top most lists of entrepreneurial woes. Financial problems are obvious with new businesses as most of the capital has been ploughed into starting-up and more is needed to maintain the day-to-day running even without the feasibility of making profits yet. There are money management tools and software to help you create budgets, pay bills, bill clients and manage cash flow.

New Clients:

Businesses thrive around an increasing clientele base. This is why finding and keeping new clients is one skill that new businesses need. Potential clients are not always open to new businesses as they prefer tried and trusted ones so you need to be a solution provider or a problem solver, and a unique one at that! You also need to make the best of every opportunity to reach out to a client and be ready to impress every time!

Planning:

There’s so much excitement centred on entrepreneurship and starting a new business that sometimes there are no proper plans for the long-term basis. A business plan should have its goals and missions well defined with room for adjustments and improvements as the business makes progress. Proper planning allows businesses to have a sense of focus, direction and alignment and will guide every decision making process.

Time management:

Time management skills are crucial. There’s no rule that says only big corporations need to be time conscious. Have schedules laid out in advance that every team member can fit into to ensure efficiency and accountability. Projects to be undertaken should be planned in advance. There are calendars and planners to help check if you are in line with schedules and this will save you from emergency situations that can be embarrassing or costly.

Marketing:

A marketing plan should clearly state how you intend to sell your business and what it offers to both clients and investors alike. It should have details about your target market, your competitive edge, product pricing, budget allocation for advertising and the platforms for advertisements. You don’t stop marketing, you just change strategies.

Competition:

There are already established businesses that seemingly own the market with a natural edge based on experience, power of bulk purchasing, discounts and overheads. The competition should not limit you but challenge you to climb the progress ladder. By leveraging on the advantages of being a new business, especially building relationships with your team members and clients that are geared towards efficient service delivery, you’ll become the competition in good time.

At Connect Communications we have been able to help new businesses find a solid footing by reducing the costs associated with reception duties and call answering. We can help you overcome the difficulties at the initial phase of your business and give you the edge you desire. Call us today to see how we could help your business, no matter how old or new it is, and take advantage of our 30 day free trial.

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4 reasons to opt for a virtual reception service https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/blog/4-reasons-to-opt-for-a-virtual-reception-service/ https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/blog/4-reasons-to-opt-for-a-virtual-reception-service/#respond Thu, 06 Apr 2017 10:14:52 +0000 https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/?p=1606

The need of a customer support service is now a necessity for many growing businesses; however, the budget constraint might not allow them to hire reception staff for providing this level of support and/or reception services. The solution to such a problem is by outsourcing to a service such as Connect’s phone answering and diary management services. It can come in very handy if your business is in a growing phase and you are operating on a tight budget.

Let’s further elaborate some of the top reasons behind the importance of virtual receptionist services.

Keeping costs down

Cost-efficient

The main difference between hiring an in-office receptionist and opting for virtual one is the cost. By employing in-office reception staff, the various expenses that will be added to your liabilities include their payroll, insurance, benefits etc. Furthermore, you might have to purchase additional office equipment and furniture for the reception area.

You can save all this cost by employing the services of a virtual receptionist; you simply have to pay them a certain pre-decided amount per month and enjoy the extensive benefits.

Keeping in touch with staff and customers

Always in touch with your business

By outsourcing to a service such as Connect’s it means you are able to keep in touch with your business on the go even if you aren’t in your office. The operators at a virtual reception will screen the calls and transfer it to on your home number or mobile number regardless of your location. This feature will ensure your availability to your clients at any time of the day.

Even if you aren’t available, a friendly and professional operator will take a message and convey it to you upon your availability. This will enable you to never miss out on a customer or client and get you better ROI.

Reliable staff

Reliable and professional

All staff and operators employed by Connect (and you’d hope other virtual receptionist services) receive detailed training on each new client and also refresher training to make sure they are always up to date with your company procedures. They are dedicated to their work and will make sure to satisfy your clients in the best way possible.

By hiring the services of a virtual reception, you will not have to worry about your receptionist taking breaks in between work or days off due to illness or any other reason as the operators at Connect Communications will be there for their assistance. They will be handling all the queries of your clients or customers related to your business in the best way possible.

Get more from your existing staff

Enhanced productivity

Since your employees are relieved of the additional responsibilities such as answering phone calls, providing information to clients etc. this allows them to focus more on their work and enhance their productivity.

The enhanced productivity of your employees will definitely bring more fruitful results for your business. Not only that, the staff at Connect’s virtual reception will hopefully become an inexpensive and easily managed extension of your existing staff as well as being responsible for handling your appointments and incoming calls.

To sum it up, the outsourcing to such a service is an ideal option for any growing, small and medium sized businesses as they will be able to enjoy superior customer support and reception services without disturbing their budgets.

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Connect announce new sponsorship of Nathan MacQueen https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/blog/connect-sponsor-nathan-macqueen/ https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/blog/connect-sponsor-nathan-macqueen/#respond Thu, 23 Mar 2017 10:41:18 +0000 https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/?p=1587 Connect are delighted to announce our sponsorship of Nathan “Lightning” MacQueen.

Nathan MacQueenNathan MacQueen is a British Paralympian archer who competed in his first Paralympics last year at Rio 2016. He lives locally to our main office near Edinburgh and Connect are delighted to be associated with, and to sponsor Nathan. Connect’s marketing director, Nicky Walker, has known Nathan for a number of years and they regularly train together at the gym in Livingston.

A natural athlete, Nathan had played rugby at professional level for Glasgow Warriors and represented Scotland in the under 21’s squad, at this time he was also part of the Scottish archery team.

At the age of 18 his life was turned upside down when a motorbike crash left him fighting for his life. Paralysed from the waist down, Nathan was determined to carry on with a career in sport and started competing in powerlifting until he injured his shoulder on the eve of Commonwealth Games. It was then that his interest in archery was re-ignited and he quickly fought his way into the Paralympics GB team. He represented Great Britain in Rio 2016 and finished 9th, not bad for a first attempt.

He is now ranked 7th in the world and in January 2017 won his first international gold medal at the Fazza International Para-Archery Championships in Dubai where he caused a huge upset by beating the world number one, Alberto Simonelli.

You can follow Nathan on Twitter @nathanmacarcher on Facebook @nathanmacarcher and via his website www.nathanmacqueen.co.uk

 

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How to never answer another sales call https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/blog/never-answer-another-sales-call/ https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/blog/never-answer-another-sales-call/#respond Tue, 24 Jan 2017 13:08:30 +0000 https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/?p=1325 Sales calls are annoying, the cold calls, the PPI calls, the automated calls or even the offer of some fantastic new double-glazed windows – all of them a nuisance.

Why do they still exist? Can there really be that many people in the country that just happen to have had a car crash recently and haven’t already sorted out their claim and are overjoyed that an automated voice has called at the perfect, convenient time to tell them “where there’s blame there’s a claim”?

Now what if I told you there really is a way for your business to never have to pick up the phone again, full of confidence, full of anticipation at a potential new client only to be disappointed and angered by a crackly, distant, foreign voice asking if they are please speaking to the owner of the business.

Corporate Telephone Preference Service

The most popular way that you can try and stop sales calls sneaking through to your business is by registering for free with the Corporate Telephone Preference Service or CTPS, it’s pretty much the same as the residential TPS. It’s great, enter you details at http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/number_type.html, it takes 28 days for the registration to become effective and then from that point on your number is registered on the CPTS- brilliant! Only it doesn’t work. You and I both know it doesn’t, my landline at home is TPS registered and I still get 4 or 5 calls a day, usually automated but sometimes I get a real human being from somewhere on the planet telling me that my claim has been successful (what claim?) or I’m owed PPI or I can save 50% if I order new windows right now!

TPS doesn’t work. There are two main reasons that it doesn’t work, the first is the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) can impose fines of up to £500,000 but it doesn’t matter as the monies cold calling companies can make are huge as well. Also because of the devious nature of many cold calling companies, even if they do get caught, even if they do get fined then… voluntary liquidation, disappear into the night and set up shop somewhere else under a new guise. And that brings us onto the other big reason TPS doesn’t work, what if the company calling you isn’t even under the remit of the ICO as it’s in another country?

“Ah, but the title of this article is how to never answer another sales call not how to register for a telephone preference service that doesn’t work” I hear you say, well…”

Your business never needs to answer another sales call again

Are you ready for it, ready for the big reveal?

It’s simple; outsource all your business calls to a telephone answering service like Connect. Seems a pretty radical and over the top suggestion just to get rid of a few sales calls a day but how much more work could you get done if you knew, without doubt, you weren’t going to be disturbed by something trivial?

Genuine enquiries and genuine clients will still have their calls answered professionally and quickly, important calls can even be transferred through to you but sales calls simply disappear. The beauty with Connect’s pricing is that as only messages and transfers count toward you monthly tariff, sales calls are free; as far you are concerned they really do simply disappear.

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Why Brexit will not happen https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/blog/brexit-will-not-happen/ https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/blog/brexit-will-not-happen/#respond Thu, 22 Dec 2016 09:58:21 +0000 https://www.connect-communications.co.uk/?p=1298 To Brexit or not to BrexitRight, that’s it, we’re leaving the EU- oh no we’re not, oh yes we are, oh no we’re not! Panto season is here again and the long saga of if, when and how the UK will leave the EU is still just as unfunny as watching another C list celeb being chased around the stage in his best dress.

Back in the June referendum the result wasn’t a landslide but it was a majority vote of 52% for Brexit. Now that took a lot of people by surprise even those who campaigned for us to leave, if you remember on the night even Nigel Farage was starting to make his excuses as to why they had failed before the first result had come in “looks like Remain will edge it“, and especially those who had campaigned for us to stay. It may take many years for the truth to come out but it’s pretty certain there wasn’t a realistic Brexit plan in place at all by the government as nobody ever believed it could happen or even can happen.

Fast forward to December 2016 and we are still absolutely no further forward in understanding how or when the UK will leave the EU, could it be that now it’s upon us even supposed Leave campaigners (Boris, I’m looking at you) have looked at the potential risks and thought “oh oh, actually this all looks a bit of a mess“?

10 Years of Uncertainty

One huge problem is the time all of this will take, some experts predict it could take 10 years for the UK to fully disengage from Europe, that’s 10 years of uncertainty and everybody knows the financial markets hate uncertainty. A lot of Leave campaigners seem to think the worse is over, even gloating that despite all the doom and gloom predictions of financial turmoil nothing much has happened yet so it’s all OK- “we told you so“. Not really, it’ll take years for the full financial toll to become clear, article 50 hasn’t even been triggered yet. That’s how unprepared the government were, 6 months on and the UK can’t even get an agreement on who’s responsible for telling the EU “it’s not you, it’s me, I just think I can do so much better on my own- you’re dumped“.

Watery Brexit

Nicola SturgeonSo back to the original statement “Why Brexit will not happen” or at least the version of Brexit that was sold to the UK in the run up to the referendum won’t happen. What we’ll get is a very watered down version of Brexit that no one is particularly happy with, just this week Nicola Sturgeon has been telling us how it would be “democratically justifiable” to remain in the European single market even after Brexit. Our business, Connect Call Answering, is based in Scotland and so we probably hear a lot more about the SNP’s views than many of our clients in England do but just remember where this watery Brexit came from. Obviously Scotland’s first minister has ulterior motives but just watch this space as Mrs May slowly starts to try and creep this version in.

If, and it’s a big if, the other EU members agree to anything like this then huge concessions will need to be made by the UK on other aspects of Brexit.

If the concessions that the UK needs to make to stay pals with Europe are so large then surely many will question “why bother, let’s just stick with the status quo“, but the will of the people demands that we leave the EU. Well yes it does but there was never anything actually legally binding about the referendum to leave the EU.

The Curveball

There is another train of thought that if the other EU members point blank refuse to even consider the Watery Brexit then Mrs May will happily drag out negotiations over many years in the hope that other nations soon follow suit and there’s eventually no EU left for the UK to exit from anyway. Just a thought.

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